God is equally comfortable with our attitudes of simple child-like faith, on the one hand, and critical intellectual thought and reason, on the other hand. If we must choose only one, then clearly, it must be simple child-like faith. Jesus makes this clear in Matthew 18:13 and in Matthew 19:14. But equally true, the Apostle Peter encourages us in 1 Peter 3:15, “…Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…” And in the Old Testament, Isaiah had no difficulty exhorting his audience to, “Come now and let us reason together…” (Isaiah 1:18).
The truth is that simple child-like faith is required because, though made in the image and likeness of God, we are not able to understand God by reason – “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). And yet, we should always remember that it is God who has given us our intellectual capacities to reason and think critically. It is God who embeds the critical questions that start with “Why?” in a little child’s mind. Unlike many parents, God will never be phased or embarrassed when we ask, “Why?”
Should the imminence of Christ’s return be the greatest motivational factor in causing us to live Godly lives as encouraged by the Apostle Paul in Romans 13:11-14?” It is almost 2000 years since the Apostle Paul wrote “…The night is nearly over, the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness”. Millions of Believers in Christ have died, while expecting Christ to return in their lifetime, but He has not.. And that is the critical factor. There is absolutely no consequential difference between, our dying before Christ returns, and Christ returning before we die. And of the two, one is demonstrably relevant – we could die at any moment – and that would be “game over”.
Our motivation for clothing ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ must be that it is infinitely and eternally more beneficial for us, than is carousing, drunkenness, sexual immorality, dissension, and jealousy. Critically think of each of the practices outlined in Romans 13:13, analyze the associated costs, consequences and benefits of each, and determine whether practicing them leaves us better or worse, richer or poorer, in this life and after. Interestingly enough, even secular values condemn all of the practices in Romans 13:13.
The Apostle Paul concludes, “…and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” By inference he was also saying, “think about how to put on the Lord Jesus Christ daily and walk in the Spirit.” The two life-styles are polar opposites. Both are rooted in the existence of spiritual forces in our lives. Both require conscious thought and decisions by us in order to influence our dominant life-style. Fortunately, God’s Holy Spirit will help us with only one.
Remember to visit RBC’s Our Daily Bread Devotional today at www.ODB.org